The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley @aliyawhiteleypr @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nature #nonfiction #autumn #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley. Autumn is a wonderful season and it is ideal for those of us who like to go foraging for mushrooms. I only ever pick the ones that I know are safe, so tend to stick to puffball or field mushrooms.

My huge thanks to Alison Menzies for getting in touch about this book and sending me a wonder paperback copy from the publisher Elliott & Thompson.

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Fungi are unlike any other living thing—they are almost magically unique. Welcome to this astonishing world. . . 

Fungi can appear anywhere, from desert dunes to frozen tundra. They can invade our bodies and live between our toes or our floorboards.  They are unwelcome intruders or vastly expensive treats, and symbols of both death and eternal life. But despite their familiar presence, there’s still much to learn about the eruption, growth, and decay of their secret, interconnected, world.

Aliya Whiteley has always been in love with fungi—from her childhood taking blurry photographs of strange fungal eruptions on Exmoor to a career as a writer inspired by their surreal and alien beauty. This love for fungi is a love for life, from single-cell spores to the largest living organism on the planet; a story stretching from Aliya’s lawn into orbit and back again via every continent.

From fields, feasts and fairy rings to death caps, puffballs and ambrosia beetles, this is an intoxicating journey into the life of an extraordinary organism, one that we have barely begun to understand.

MY REVIEW

This is a brilliant little book that delves into the murky world of Fungi. The author has a wonderful way of expressing her interest in this subject and it makes it very interesting reading. Last year I read a book by Suzanne Simard, Finding the Mother Tree, this book went into a lot of detail about the way fungi connect the trees. In The Secret Life of Fungi, the author, Aliya Whitely explains how fungi are part of our everything. It survives in the most surprising of conditions and environments. There is a lot more to fungi than the mushrooms we see in fields, on trees or on decomposing vegetation.

This book is set out in quick sub-chapters, with three main chapters entitled – Erupt, Spread and Decay. A simplified version of a lifecycle.

As the author makes her way through the chapters and subchapters she gives examples of research, observations and discoveries over the years. This introduces the reader to the basics of this far-reaching and unstoppable organism and follows it to the ends of the earth and beyond.

This would fall into the Science and Nature genre and to some extent, this is what it is. But rather than being all science, symbols, maths and other undecipherable, this book keeps to the basics. It makes sit a very easy-to-read book and the journey the author guides the reader on is like an adventure of discovery.

There are dangers to foraging and there is a section that describes some of the symptoms. Also going into details about how harmful spores can be spread and nature’s own way of dealing with them. Often the strands of fungi, or mycelia, have a symbiotic relationship with another plant and so it continues its lifecycle. It can be easily spread and there has been evidence of fungi in the International Space Station.

Not just confined to being eaten, this can be used for health and medicinal cures and treatments, just think of penicillin as an example. The other side of this can also be the strain that can cause pneumonia or Valley Fever and have devastating results.

Wherever you are in the world you will be near some type of fungi. You probably won’t even notice it, you may not see it, but it’s there.

This was a really interesting book and the author has a real passion for her field and this is evident in her writing. A cracking read that took me by surprise in a very good way. This is a relatively quick read at just over 200 pages, and if you like nature, the natural world and being outside then this is one that you would probably really enjoy. Very accessible and totally absorbing I soon discovered time had passed by as I was busy reading this one. I would definitely recommend it.

After finishing this book I decided to go out into the garden and explore. I knew there were some fungi and I hunted for more. This is what I found.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(www.aliyawhiteley.wordpress.com / @aliyawhiteley)
Aliya Whiteley is inspired by how fungi and humanity share the world. She grew up
in North Devon where she developed an early passion for walking and observing
nature. She writes novels, short stories and non-fiction and has been published in
places such as The Guardian, Interzone, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and in
several anthologies. Previously a magazine editor, she has written about the natural
world for Mental Floss and in her fiction. Her novella, The Beauty, was shortlisted for
both Shirley Jackson and Sabotage Awards, and depicts a future world in which a
fungus interacts with humanity to create a new form of life, leading readers all over
the world to send her photographs and articles relating to mushrooms.
She walks with her dog through the woods and fields around her home in West
Sussex every day, taking inspiration from the hidden worlds around her.

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My Week In Books (w/e 25th September 2022) #bookupdates #booklove #inthegarden#MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to my weekly update of books I have read. I didn’t post last week so today I have a two-week catch-up.

The weather seems to have a bit more chill to it and I have noticed that the misty mornings and heavy dew are starting to reappear. While the veg garden is starting to look a little bare, the flowers are still going well. I went and picked a few flowers this morning along with raspberries and blackberries ready for crumbles and pies in the winter.

The garden is producing some lovely autumnal flowers and leaves at the moment. Here are some pics and also one of my Tradescantia, I think this one is called Purple Heart. I’ve included this as I saw Rosie Amber’s post Six On Saturday and was admiring her Tradescantia 🙂

There were the plants, now here are the books I have read over the past TWO weeks.

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The Radium Girls by Kate Moore – I first read this book as an ARC prior to its publication in 2017. It is an emotional and heartbreaking history of the girls who painted radium onto clock faces and dials. At a time when no one was aware of the danger. Since reading it I have also bought a copy and as I was wondering what to spend by Audible Credit on, I saw this. A full review will follow soon.

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Tick Tock by Simon May – Oh my goodness this was a riveting read. Full review HERE

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The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly – I adored this one and it is the story of two dysfunctional families. It is sneaky and devious and I also adore the cover. Full review to follow soon.

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Thief by Owen Mullen – this is the 4th book in the Glass Family series and it is another belter. Living the lives that the Glass family do, there are times when they are a target. This is one of those times and it sees the focus shift to another member of the family. Full review in a couple of weeks as part of the Blog Tour.

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A Winter Warmer at the Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot – this is the 3rd book in this series and I adored it. A story of fresh starts, healing and grief in this welcoming and wonderful coastal community. Full review in a couple of weeks as part of the Blog Tour.

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The Hike by Susi Holliday – this was a tense and atmospheric thriller set in the Swiss Alps. The author has created a sneakily deceptive and absorbing story about two couples. and there are some wonderful twists along the way. A full review of this will be in a couple of weeks or so as part of the Blog Tour.

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman – was a brilliantly addictive book and if you are a fan of psychological thrillers then you need to read this one. Full review HERE

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Masquerade by Kit Williams – this is a book that gave the author Catherine Steadman a starting point for The Family Game (see above) and so it was obvious I needed to find my old copy and give it another read. This was a book that I loved when I saw it as the artwork is wonderful, it is, by the way, a treasure hunt that was first published in 1979. My copy is a 1982 one and gives an introduction by the author. Then the treasure hunt and the clues you need. The final section is all the clues he had given. Fabulous book and a full review will follow.

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Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton – I recently read book 5 in this series and adored it. I was gently nudged by a fellow Book Blogger ( @FictionFan2 ) that I should immediately backtrack and read them 🙂 So I did, it was great to start at the beginning and this case is dark and dangerous, and is a cracking read. I will be definitely reading the others in the series, hopefully soon! – Full review to follow.

I am pretty pleased with 9 books over two weeks.

I wish you all a great week ahead,

Happy Reading

Yvonne xx

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Tick Tock by Simon Mayo #thriller #contemporaryfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Tick Tock by Simon Mayo. I have not read any of his books before, but if his latest one is anything to go by I will be reading them.

It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.

Before you know it, it spreads. Elsewhere across the globe, it emerges, small outbreaks at first, contained groups of people, young and old, and suddenly it’s a plague – and ten days later it’s killing people. The hospitals are overflowing and there is no cure. There is a paranoid panic which sets friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour. Where does the world go from here?

In the north London school where it is first discovered, head of English, Kit Chaplin is struggling to understand what he is witnessing. Even eminent bacteriologist and his partner Lilly Slater can’t help him. But as the virus rips through the school and into the outside world, the world starts to take notice. Kit is more concerned about his students – and his young daughter, Rose – but little by little he gets sucked into where this mystery illness might have come from. And how it’s going to threaten his world.

Tick Tock is the compelling new novel from master storyteller and legendary DJ, Simon Mayo. It tells the story of a different kind of pandemic through the eyes of three people at the heart of the storm. Utterly exciting, urgently contemporary, piercingly insightful, it more than confirms the promise of his bestselling and acclaimed first thriller, Knife Edge.

MY REVIEW

I had seen this book getting some good reviews and decided it was one I really wanted to read. I mean the first paragraph in the synopsis – “It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.” that really was the hook for me!

This is a big story but one that has a small amount as far as the cast of characters goes. They are father and Daughter, Kit and Rose and Kit’s partner Lilly and her daughter Jess. The story focuses mainly on Kit, Rose and Lilly, as circumstances and events mean they come together for various reasons further in the story.

It has not been long since the Covid pandemic and this is referred to in this story as something that has happened and the world has moved on. The ticking can be heard not only by the person who emits it but also heard by those close to them. For me, this is a step forward from a cough or sneeze that we were all distancing ourselves from over a previous couple of years.

The author does use some of the reactions that we saw from Covid in this story and then elaborates on others. Pandemic and panic, social media and public opinion are something that goes hand-in-hand with this story. It adds to the tension and especially when the clicking then turns into deafness and then death.

I liked how the author brought things to a quiet presence, where people didn’t wear headphones and music playing loudly and while it sounds peaceful it came across as very ominous and quite a scary atmosphere. You need to be able to hear if people are clicking and therefore if they are infected. So this was a great move within the story.

The characters come across as trustworthy, Kit is a Head of English, Rose is a student and Lilly is a known virologist. This adds a credence to the feel of the story as such because we are talking about two adults who are educated and having the daughter involved means they have access to the modern generation’s use of technology and social media.

This was a gripping story and one that I really enjoyed. It was a tense read and one that I read easily over two sittings. I have not read any of this author’s previous books so I am looking forward to changing that.

This is one for those who like a story that is tense, well-paced and has a lot of theories that are discussed. I like how the characters are forced together to search for their own answers and this again is where the choice of characters and their roles come into play so well. This was one that had quite a few twists and I wasn’t entirely sure where the author was going to go or how it would end, definitely kept me hooked and I would definitely recommend it.

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The Family Game by Catherine Steadman @CatSteadman @RandomTTours @SimonSchusterUK #fiction #thriller #suspense #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an absolute belter of a book. The Family Game by Catherine Steadman is addictive, a page-turner and I adored it.

I want to give huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book from Simon & Schuster.

I also want to apologise for the lateness of my review. It should have been last week and it wasn’t until I check the poster I realised I had made a scheduling mistake. Better late than never! You should also expect to see this book on my end-of-year Top Reads list 🙂

Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family.
When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as
she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder. Feeling isolated and
confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker.
Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME…

MY REVIEW

Oh my goodness this is a story that took me completely by surprise. It is a mix of several genres so would appeal to readers who like mystery thrillers with a really tense and atmospheric vibe. There are elements of horror and a psychological feel and overall it is an addictive and totally captivating read.

Harry is an author who has has success with her debut book. She has moved in with her boyfriend, Edward, and has yet to meet the rest of his family. Harry doesn’t have any family, and Edwards is huge. Not only huge but rich and influential as Harry soon discovers.

The author has fabulously brought together two opposites with the two main characters. The focus is on Edward’s family and how they interfere in his life, which is why he hasn’t mentioned Harry to them. It is totally understandable, but when he proposes to Harry he informs his family. The initial contact is tentative as Harry meets a sister. The tense feeling is there but all in all, things go well.

As you get further and further into the story you begin to see little signs that this family is far from ordinary. They have an extremely organised and almost compulsive feel to them. This is a family that has traditions that go back generations and while the world has moved on the family is all important and encompassing.

This is one of those stories that I want to shout about, but can’t because it would give away the story, plot and whole thrill of reading the book. It is a deviously twisted and insanely addictive storyline. What I thought within the first few chapters was completely different by the end of the book. In some ways it is a complex story, that is if I were to try and explain it in more detail, but it is one that the author has nailed. It isn’t confusing as you and I adored the way it just flowed from one thing to the next. By the end I was gobsmacked.

I adored this book a lot and it is one that I would very definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Steadman is an actress and author based in
London. She has appeared in leading roles on British
and American television as well as on stage in the
West End where she has been nominated for a
Laurence Olivier Award. Catherine’s first novel,
Something in the Water, was a number one New York
Times bestseller with rights sold in over thirty
territories. It was also a Richard & Judy Book Club
Pick. Her second novel, Mr Nobody, was published in
2020 and her third novel, The Disappearing Act,
published in 2021.

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The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue #mystery #literaryfcition #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue. This is a book that has divided opinions when you look at the reviews. So I bought a copy and gave it a go as it did sound interesting to me.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

MY REVIEW

I have seen a few reviews for this book and it is one that seems to divide opinions. It is a slower-paced story and it does have a literary fiction lean to it, I think this is why it appealed to me.

A teacher and a student go missing from a boarding school run by nuns. The student, Louisa, doesn’t fit in. She has been accepted via a scholarship and is not afforded the same respect as those who have rich parents willing to pay the fees. The teacher is Mr Lavelle, a young teacher, who inspires and is open to his students, encouraging them to explore their minds further. Not a conventional teacher but one that is well-liked.

It is 25 years after the disappearances, and no one knows the whereabouts of Louisa or Lavelle. As the anniversary is coming up a local journalist picks the story back up and tries to look for those who may be able to shed new light on this old case.

The story is told from the perspectives of Louisa and the Journalist.

This is a very slow and yet very atmospheric novel that really hit the right notes for me. There is the mystery of the missing persons and this is told in a then and now timeline. Reading from Louisa’s perspective as she joins this new school you soon realise that there is a difference in how a student is perceived and therefore accepted. Louisa gained her place on merit, clever awarded a place because of her excellent exam results. And not, as some others are, students of rich parents. The hierarchy is evident, but not all the students think this way. Louisa is befriended and made to feel welcome by a fellow loner, Victoria.

The author gradually tells of the school, the students and the classes. All the time building on the relationships and friendships made. When the Journalist is introduced other details are brought to light, and her role in revisiting this story means she gets to seek out those who were part of it. Slowly and gently the author teases and weaves a tale that comes across with a slight gothic edge to it, some of the characters almost have an ethereal presence and this adds to the atmosphere. Some of the characters are very daydreamy and they seem to flutter through the story while others feel very real.

I really enjoyed this one and I found it very absorbing. I do like a slow burner of a story and this is definitely that. For me, the story had atmosphere, tragedy, and mystery and at times I did think it had a Du Maurier style to it.

I am aware that this book has split opinions, but for me, I adored it and thought it was beautifully written. It does fall into literary fiction, suspense, friendship and mystery and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Follow him on – Facebook Instagram Twitter

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Sunny Skies and Summer Kisses by Eliza J Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #romance #contemporaryfiction #family #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sunny Skies & Summer Kisses by Eliza J Scott. This is part of the Life on the Moors series. It is a wonderful series and each book can be read as a stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

No matter how hard you fight it, love will always find a way…
Ever since she was a little girl, dance teacher Anoushka Cartwright has dreamed of opening her own dance studio near her home on her beloved North Yorkshire Moors. And when she gets the chance to do just that she can hardly believe her luck!
Life is sweet. Or it would be if it wasn’t for her relationship with Damon which has been growing increasingly toxic, much to her family’s concern. Critical of her dreams he can’t understand why she won’t move to the city of York and live with him. He refuses to accept their relationship is floundering until the day Anoushka breaks up with him.
Popular indie/folk singer, Gabe Dublin, hails from Southern Ireland. He’s been head-over-heels in love with Anoushka ever since he first set eyes on her at a wedding two years earlier. She’s the reason he keeps returning to the area, staying with his friends, Lady Caroline Hammondely and her husband Sim, at Danskelfe Castle. Gabe and Anoushka have become good friends, but she’s always made it clear they could never be anything more, which is tearing Gabe’s heart in two. He knows he won’t be able to love anyone else the way he loves Anoushka.
Her family and friends can see how perfect they are for each other but Anoushka is adamant, after her experience with Damon, she has no room for a man in her life. She makes a pact with herself to focus all of her attention on her dance school. And she intends to keep it. The only thing is, it’s not as easy as it seems.
When an unexpected situation throws them together, Anoushka’s feelings are exposed for the world to see. The question is, will she act on them or will she stay true to her promise to herself?
Join Anoushka and Gabe – and all the other Life on the Moors Characters – for the latest heartwarming visit to the characterful village of Lytell Stangdale in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors.

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW

I have read quite a few of the Life on the Moors series, somehow along the way I have missed the odd one so it was great to catch up with the comings and goings in Lytell Stangdale. This story focuses on Anoushka, or Noushka as she is often referred to. If you have read any of this series, she is the stepdaughter to Kitty.

Noushka has finally had enough of her controlling boyfriend, no one seems to like him but she will not be pushed into a decision based on others’ opinions. These opinions, although, well-meaning, are not, however constant so Noushka feels she can make her own mind up about Damon.

After she finally makes her mind up, she is surprised at how he went storming off, but more surprising is when he tries to win her back. After all, she is nothing without him, she needs him to get away from the country yokels and make a success of herself! Yes, he is that sort of person, and the author does a cracking job of allowing this character to get under the readers’ skin.

The one thing about this series is the wonderful community spirit and friendships that are in abundance. The families are supportive, and Noushka soon finds that she has made the right decision. She just wished people would now leave her be and stop trying to set her up with Gabe, a singer and songwriter. They have been friends for ages and Noushka can’t see him as anything else. Besides, she has only just got out of a relationship and is not looking for another. Instead, she wants to finally achieve her dream of opening a dance studio.

They say things happen for a reason, and they happen when you need them the most. This is something that the author has really nailed in this story. As I mentioned, I have missed a couple of books, but the characters soon came back to me. Things are not a given and neither are chances. I love how the author kept tiptoeing around certain key points and didn’t hold back on things that help to explain more about how Noushka feels about things in general.

This is a really wonderful book and I was glad to come back to some wonderful and memorable characters. I adore this series and I am annoyed that I have missed a couple, but I will be back-tracking to read books 4 and 6!

This is the one really great thing about this series, each book can be read as a stand-alone, but obviously, you get to know the characters better if you read all the books. This latest book works well as a stand-alone, but then I had read Kitty’s Story, so I was aware of her storyline.

Fabulous story, ideal for fans of contemporary fiction, romance, family and friendships and with a wonderfully supportive community. I would definitely recommend this one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Bio – Eliza lives in the North Yorkshire countryside with her family. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.
Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. Her books will always have happy endings.

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Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rartraresources @BoldwoodBooks #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. I have followed this series from the very beginning and adored each of the books. So it is with sadness that I read this final book, I will miss the characters and the Hedgehogs.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher Boldwood Books.

It’s the countdown to Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow Wildlife Rescue Centre, and everyone is gearing up for a festive season to remember…
It should be the most wonderful time of the year for Samantha and Josh as they prepare for the arrival of their first baby. But life at Hedgehog Hollow rarely goes to plan and the pair are faced with adversaries, old and new, and unexpected challenges to overcome.
Fizz’s job at the heart of the rescue centre is a dream come true but her personal life is more like a nightmare. With her love life a disaster and her past about to dramatically catch up with her, she needs the love and support of her Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever.
As the snow falls over Hedgehog Hollow, will Samantha and Fizz find the Christmas miracle they need to overcome their heartache and find happiness?


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

Oh, this is such a bitter-sweet review as this is the final book in this series, although the author does mention the possibility of coming back to some characters mentioned. I for one hope that she does.

This has been a fabulous series and one that I have read from the very first when there was no rescue centre, when the house was run down and where an elderly man was alone. The author has created such a heartwarming series and each step of the way I have been hooked. Following the comings and goings of the people, the families and friends and obviously of the little prickle balls themselves.

This final book is another heartwrenching one, although it is also full of wonderful surprises and new starts. Yes it does have Christmas mentioned ( this book was released in September btw) and it was a refreshing book to read in the August sun.

Family and friends are looking toward Christmas, but it is going to be a strange one in some ways as things don’t remain the same. I did like the way the author didn’t make it excessively festive but concentrated on the close-knit family, extended family and close friends of those who have been part of Hedgehog Hollow over the years. Christmas is a time for remembering things and not all are good. there are some very tough times ahead for some of the characters as they have to admit things that they have kept hidden for far too long.

Sam and Josh are awaiting the arrival of their new baby, and this is one of the new starts I have mentioned. There is a sense of fear and excitement as they await the birth, but there is also plenty of other things going on in the story. It does have a feeling that the author has started to bring things to a close, but it has been done in such a wonderful and natural feeling way.

This book was a real emotional rollercoaster, there were so many moments when I had to swallow a lump in my throat or wipe away the odd tear so I could keep reading. I would love to share all these moments but I am deliberately avoiding this.

A vague-ish review as such as I don’t want to spoil any of the numerous and wonderful moments if you are still to read this one.

If you are a fan of contemporary fiction and romance with family and friends being the focus then you need to have a look at this series. There is romance, trouble, challenges, expectations and so many wonderful surprises throughout the series and also this final book.

This has been a fabulous reading journey and I have learnt more about hedgehogs and this has been incorporated into the storylines so well.

Fabulous series, with amazing characters and wonderful storylines that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.


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My Week In Books (w/e 11th September 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly update of books I have read over the past week. What a week we have had, a new Prime Minister and a New King.

I am not a huge royalist, but Queen Elizabeth has been Queen for many people’s lives, she is the only Monarch we have had in our lives. I did find, the same as many others, that the news of the late Queen was quite emotional. When she first came to the throne there wasn’t the media coverage there is now. My thoughts go out to the family as their every move, facial expression and their body language are put under the spotlight. In this time of sorrow, they are meeting and thanking people, they are accessible and this must be so hard for them. I do not know how they are managing to keep their emotions under control as they grieve the passing of their beloved matriarch.

The news is constant, no matter where you look there are posts on social media, the internet, in shops, and in conversations as you would expect. In Cornwall, we are inundated with visitors through the summer months, so I decided to take time out and go to a huge beach that I haven’t been to for years. Gwithian is rammed in the summer holidays and now that the children are back to school it is the ideal time to visit. I wanted somewhere open, wild and relaxing and Gwithian Beach is all that. There are families, dogs and surfers but sitting on the beach they are drowned out by the rolling of the waves. It was easy to just shut out the noise and listen to the waves. I soon discovered I had spent 3 hours perfectly relaxed and suitably chilled out.

Here are the books I have read –

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Sunny Skies & Summer Kisses by Eliza J Scott – this is book 7 in the Life on the moors series. I have read a few of them and this latest one is fabulous. Great reading for those who love stories about friendships, families and communities with a good romance woven in. Full review as part of tyhe Blog Tour.

6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten – this is the auhtors first stand alone and it was a cracking read. A mix of crime, mystery and some tense thriller vibes. I adored this one and the full review is part of the Blog Tour in a couple of weeks.

The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whitely – a fabulous foray into the fungal world, told via anecdotes, observations and connections. I do love my science and nature reads and this one is perfect for non-science minded foll like me. Full review later this month.

The Temple House by Rachel Donahue – I had seen mixed reviews about this book and I decided to give it a go and I am so glad I did. It is a slower-paced boook that falls mroe towrd the literary fiction style more expressive, lyrical and I did begin this one while sat on the beach. I do think it has a Du Maurier feel to it. I really enjoyed this one and I soon devoured it over two sittings. Full review to follow soon.

There we have it, a four week book week this week! I have spent the last few weeks managing just the three.

I don’t have a many reviews to post over the rrest of this month so I am not going to be around posting much. It is actually a good time for me to step away from social media and my Blog. I will still update and write posts but not as much. I am actually looking forward to this more random schedule for a couple of weeks. It will give me the chance to catch up with some reading for Ocvtober Blog TOurs and for some of the books I want to read from my oiwn TBR.

I wisah everyone a great week ahead

Happy Reading

All the best, Yvonne xx

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Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau #audiobook #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Botanical Folk Tales of Britain & Ireland by Lisa Schneidau and narrated by Joan Walker. This was a title that caught my eye while I was scanning through Audible and I do love Folk Tales.

This collection of folk tales takes you on a green and leafy journey around the British Isles. Here are locally sourced and traditional folk tales of wild trees and plants throughout the seasons: from the magical mistletoe to the bad-tempered stinging nettle. Plants shape the British landscape, and they provide food, medicine and inspiration—yet in the middle of our hectic lives, we often take them for granted. Traditional stories, passed down the generations, tell of the complex relationship between people and plants in Britain, in lowlands and uplands, coasts, bogs, forests, and towns.

MY REVIEW

I grew up reading fairy tales and folk tales so when I saw this as an audiobook I knew it would be a good one for me.

The collection of Folk Tales has been collated by Lisa Schneidau and the narrator, Joan Walker is fabulous. Joan has a very listenable voice, she adds good local accents to the various stories depending on which part of the country the tale is from.

As someone who loves her garden and also loves reading, I immediately knew that this would be great to listen to while outside in my own garden.

There are some tales that I knew, and some that I thought I knew from other stories I had read as a child, but actually turned out to be slightly different. As an adult listening to these tales I soo0n realised how dark some of them can be, death of characters is something that occurs quite often in tales, but I never really saw this as a child.

Some of the tales have a modern introduction to them, mentioning things such as phones. This means it will appeal to the younger reader today but lead them nicely into the tale and its past origins.

Each of the stories has a plant at its centre, beanstalk, mossy coat, rosemary, holly and so many others that are well known and some a little more obscure. Each tale has a relevance to a person, people or village, they are a mix of good and bad and lots of warnings. Tales of woodlands, forests, bogs and marshes, mountains and dales. The tales are laid out by season.

This is an audio that I will listen to again as I really enjoyed it. It has a calming feel to it with the gentle voice of the narrator. This is one for those who like to relive childhood tales and to a certain extent you can see how some old wives’ tales, legends and warnings have their origins, it is one I would definitely recommend it.

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